Common Electrical Hazards in the Workplace | Scott Goodwin Law

Common Electrical Hazards in the Workplace

by / Wednesday, 28 February 2024 / Published in Workplace Woes
Utility worker in a cherry picker looking at power lines.

Whether it’s at home or at work, electricity plays an important role in our day-to-day lives. But regardless of where you’re dealing with electricity, it’s absolutely critical that people know how to work with it safely to avoid shocks and electrocutions. However, many people have jobs that put them at risk for encountering electrical hazards that most people don’t need to think about. For example, roofers and construction workers can be at risk of coming into contact with power lines while working at a height or because they often work much closer to power lines and/or use long tools that might catch on the lines. 

In 2022, Safety & Health Magazine reported that 126 workers suffered fatal electrocutions on the job in 2020, which was a decrease from 2019, but the number of non-fatal electrical injuries that required time away from work increased by 17% during the same time. Occupations with a high risk of job-related electrical injuries include electricians, construction workers, roofers, tree trimmers, truck drivers, and utility workers. Here are just a few of the most common types of electrical hazards these types of workers might encounter on the job.

Improper Grounding

Proper grounding is very important in protecting workers from electrocution. All equipment and electrical systems on construction job sites should be properly grounded, but unfortunately, improper grounding is a very common safety violation. Removing electric grounding pins can easily lead to fatal injuries. 

Contact With Power Lines

When a job requires people to work at an elevated height or use tools that are long enough that they could potentially come into contact with overhead power lines, it’s extremely important that appropriate precautions be taken to protect workers. Some types of tools and equipment that can potentially come into contact with power lines include backhoes, metal ladders, trucks with raised beds, scaffolding, cranes, and long-handled tools. But remember that in some cases, power might also be underground. Contact with power lines can be prevented by taking steps like posting warnings about overhead power lines, checking into the location of underground power lines and marking them, having power to the lines turned off when work is being done nearby, and using tools/equipment made of non-conductive materials when working near power lines. 

Improper Wiring & Overloaded Circuits

If wiring is inadequate and the wrong types of wires are being used, it can be very easy for fires to occur. Systems should be equipped with circuit breakers to prevent systems from getting overloaded. It’s important to note that this type of hazard can also include improper use of extension cords, such as using cords intended for indoor use in outdoor spaces or plugging more things into an extension cord than it is designed to support. 

Damaged Insulation

Insulation on wiring and cables plays a crucial role in helping people stay safe while working around them. It’s so important that utility companies are required to insulate their power lines unless the lines are so far out of the way that they can’t be reached. However, sometimes that insulation can get damaged and worn over time, leaving parts of the wire exposed. If this happens, the insulation needs to be replaced immediately. 

Contact a Michigan Workplace Injury Lawyer

If you or a loved one was injured on the job, it’s very important to contact a workers compensation lawyer as soon as possible. Even if it seems like your employer is being cooperative, working with a lawyer will help make sure your claim for workers comp benefits is handled correctly so that you get all of the benefits you’re entitled to. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’ve helped many people in the State of Michigan who were injured at work. Contact us to find out how we can help you.

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